Shamatha without an object

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makewhisper
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Shamatha without an object

Post by makewhisper » Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:05 am

My teacher has instructed me to practice shamatha without an object, and has given me instructions. Still, I’m hoping some of you out there will be able to share your perspective on this practice as well as any teachings or resource recommendations from masters that may be available.

A friend in Dharma,

Eric
ༀ་ཨཱཿ་ཧཱུྃ
Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ
Om Ah Hung

"Whilst lacking pure renunciation there is no way to pacify
The continual thirst for pleasure in the ocean of saṃsāra,
And since all living beings are bound by their craving for existence,
You must begin by finding the determination to be free."

[from Je Tsongkhapa's Three Principal Aspects of the Path]

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Shamatha without an object

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:12 am

Your teacher's instructions should be enough.
However, since you asked...
Breath, for example, is an object of meditation. It serves as a focal point,
something that helps you to balance, deal with, and resolve issues of distraction.
When you are able to rest the mind evenly, even for a short time, with an object,
then you have a sense of what that stability, that mental calmness is.
You have some idea what you are aiming for (even though, of course, hitting a "goal" isn't the point).

From there, you practice just letting the mind rest in whatever arises,
whatever noises are around you, and even noticing thoughts coming and going,
just calm awareness, and also,
looking at the mind that is experiencing that calmness.
In a sense, it's like having a calm mind that is looking at the activity of a busy mind,
but you are now identifying with that calm mind. That's you, your calm mind watching the busy mind
(of course, its all the same mind).
In this situation, even though objects of awareness occur or arise,
they aren't functioning the way watching the breath, or looking at a candle might work.
They aren't really objects of meditation.
It's like, if you are watching TV, and the TV is on a table, the table is merely there.
You aren't watching the table. You aren't watching "TV on the table".
So, shamatha without an object doesn't mean that no objects occur, that a fire truck siren doesn't zip by,
or even that you don't feel restless. Because, you know, sometimes you might feel restless.
But you can even watch your restlessness with a calm mind, a calm mind that is detached from that restlessness,
the same way you'd be able to calmly watch someone else being restless.

Simply, the mind is resting in awareness without a specific focal point.
.
.
.
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TaTa
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Re: Shamatha without an object

Post by TaTa » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:28 am

I find that different teachers explain this practice in different ways which can be confusing in the beginning. The best is to follow you teachers advice and not over think it. The most important thing is to recognize that presence of mind and allow for it to come foward

passel
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Re: Shamatha without an object

Post by passel » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:16 am

makewhisper wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:05 am
My teacher has instructed me to practice shamatha without an object, and has given me instructions. Still, I’m hoping some of you out there will be able to share your perspective on this practice as well as any teachings or resource recommendations from masters that may be available.

A friend in Dharma,

Eric
I love a practice I learned from one teacher, called shamatha without an object, and kind of hate another practice I learned from another teacher, also call shamatha without an object.

Try your best to absorb your teacher’s instructions- give them 20 or 50 or 100 hours and see what you learn.

Pro-tip: meditation is mostly ‘failure’. Not a problem.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Shamatha without an object

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:06 am

http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-mas ... ipham-lamp

Pa-boom, this for me is one of the best meditation texts ever, and since being introduced to it by some kind soul on here, I
i've found it complimentary to pretty much any teachings i've received.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

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Rick
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Re: Shamatha without an object

Post by Rick » Sun Nov 05, 2017 2:43 pm

makewhisper wrote: My teacher has instructed me to practice shamatha without an object, and has given me instructions. Still, I’m hoping some of you out there will be able to share your perspective on this practice as well as any teachings or resource recommendations from masters that may be available.
makewhisper, hi. :-)

You might want to search for instructions from Alan Wallace, who has had lots of experience teaching different types of shamatha, including shamatha without an object which he often calls (from Padmasambhava): shamatha without a sign. For example (from Attention Revolution):

"In the practice of shamatha without a sign, the attention is not directed
to anything. It rests in its own nature, simply being aware of its own presence.
Nominally, you could say that awareness takes itself as its object. But
experientially, this practice is more a matter of taking no object. You simply
let your awareness rest, without any referent, in its own innate luminosity
and cognizance. While Padmasambhava presents this as a method
for achieving shamatha, it is also an effective method for illuminating the
nature of awareness itself."
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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heart
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Re: Shamatha without an object

Post by heart » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:14 pm

makewhisper wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:05 am
My teacher has instructed me to practice shamatha without an object, and has given me instructions. Still, I’m hoping some of you out there will be able to share your perspective on this practice as well as any teachings or resource recommendations from masters that may be available.

A friend in Dharma,

Eric
If you have instructions you should follow them and discuss your experience with your teacher. Internet will only bring deviations and confusion when it comes to actual meditation. At least that is my experience.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

passel
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Re: Shamatha without an object

Post by passel » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:51 pm

heart wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:14 pm
makewhisper wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:05 am
My teacher has instructed me to practice...
If you have instructions you should follow them and discuss your experience with your teacher. Internet will only bring deviations and confusion when it comes to actual meditation. At least that is my experience.

/magnus
True that!
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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Rick
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Re: Shamatha without an object

Post by Rick » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:58 pm

heart wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:14 pm
If you have instructions you should follow them and discuss your experience with your teacher. Internet will only bring deviations and confusion when it comes to actual meditation. At least that is my experience.

/magnus
:thumbsup: :twothumbsup: :namaste: :twothumbsup: :thumbsup:
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

passel
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Re: Shamatha without an object

Post by passel » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:01 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:06 am
http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-mas ... ipham-lamp

Pa-boom, this for me is one of the best meditation texts ever, and since being introduced to it by some kind soul on here, I
i've found it complimentary to pretty much any teachings i've received.
Ya, that’s good stuff. Not, though, about shamatha without object for the most part - it’s almost entirely trekchod
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

passel
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Re: Shamatha without an object

Post by passel » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:10 pm

Rick wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 2:43 pm
makewhisper wrote: My teacher has instructed me to practice shamatha without an object.
Alan Wallace, who has had lots of experience teaching different types of shamatha, including shamatha without an object which he often calls (from Padmasambhava): shamatha without a sign. For example (from Attention Revolution):
Shamatha without a sign is just Alan’s preferred translation for ‘mikpa me-pe shi-ne’.
Shamatha without object is a more common translation- I think it comes from the earlier English translations of Mahamudra stages of meditation literature and kind of stuck.

Worth noting that Alan had his own way of teaching that practice that doesn’t necessarily jibe with other teachers’ presentations. Not better or worse, but it’s worth being clear on that.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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anjali
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Re: Shamatha without an object

Post by anjali » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:35 pm

makewhisper wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:05 am
My teacher has instructed me to practice shamatha without an object, and has given me instructions. Still, I’m hoping some of you out there will be able to share your perspective on this practice as well as any teachings or resource recommendations from masters that may be available.
Hi makewhisper. Since you asked for a perspective on the practice, I will offer up a thought or two.

It's a simple method easily practiced, but difficult to sustain since the mind's habitual tendency is to run after objects. Like most methods, practice gets easier and becomes more stable with time.

Since you are posting in the Tibetan Buddhism forum, the assumption is that you are being given shamatha/shiney instructions within a Tibetan lineage. The lineage that I'm most familiar regarding samatha practice is Kagyu teachings on Mahamudra. In particular, there are a number of meditation practice manuals and commentaries in which you may find some helpful guidance. Honestly though, you will find very little extended discussion of shamatha without object, since describing how the method works is rather straightforward and simple. It's all about the direct experience. As numerous others have said, follow your teacher's instructions.

For what it's worth, a pith description capturing the practice that I like is "the natural flow of bare nongrasping."

Best wishes for fruitful practice. :buddha2:

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PuerAzaelis
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Re: Shamatha without an object

Post by PuerAzaelis » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:40 pm

passel wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:16 am
I love a practice I learned from one teacher, called shamatha without an object, and kind of hate another practice I learned from another teacher, also call shamatha without an object.

Try your best to absorb your teacher’s instructions- give them 20 or 50 or 100 hours and see what you learn.

Pro-tip: meditation is mostly ‘failure’. Not a problem.
:good:
And nobody in all of Oz. No Wizard that there is or was.

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